Guest View: Responding to Keith Snow’s view on the roads

A pothole on Maple Street has been filled with a patch.

In response to Keith Snow’s view on the roads tax, I want to point out a few issues that Mr. Snow neglects to address. San Benito County and its partner cities are losing tax revenue that funds road maintenance due to more fuel-efficient cars using less gas—thus fewer tax dollars—and an increase in electric vehicles on the road that use no gas. Consequently, existing roads that require maintenance are not being repaired, in part, due to a loss in gas tax revenue.
The federal Department of Homeland Security identifies the Transportation Systems Sector, including Highways and Motor Carrier, as Critical Infrastructure Sectors necessary for the protection and defense of our country comprised of more than four million miles of roadway, more than 600,000 bridges, and more than 350 tunnels. Unfortunately, San Benito County follows a national trend in deferred critical infrastructure maintenance.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s infrastructure requires a $3.6 trillion investment by the year 2020 in public funds to maintain existing roads, highways and other critical infrastructure sectors. The nonpartisan organization gave American’s infrastructure a D grade for road maintenance on its report card: www.infrastructurereportcard.org
In 1988, voters approved the Measure A sales tax initiative which was successfully executed to help finance road improvements on road systems serving and linking the cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista. The Highway 25 bypass which opened in February 2009 is a good example of the benefits of a local voter supported sales tax initiative that improves traffic safety and commute times.
Earlier this year, I attended several public Council of Government meetings wherein data was presented, analyzed and studied and I came to the same conclusion that almost every elected official, the local Republican Party, the local Democrat party agree upon; roads in San Benito County need a special sales tax dedicated to maintenance and repair, including improvements to sections of Hwy 25 to improve public safety. To my knowledge, Mr. Snow did not attend any of those meetings.
A majority of San Benito County’s population are commuters who are well aware of traffic and safety conditions that exist on Highway 25 and around local schools where many commuters send their children each day. According to a recent public opinion poll, respondents supported the proposed 1/2 cent sales tax by 67% to maintain existing roads in our county, fix potholes, improve traffic safety and streets near public schools. Mr. Snow is out of touch with a majority of county voters and citizens of Hollister whom he aspires to represent as their mayor.
Vote Yes on Measure P to Repair Our Roads on June 7.

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